TIFTON, Ga. — Visitors to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village can take “one small step” on July 20 when a new exhibit opens in the Museum Gallery focusing on the historic moon landing 50 years ago.
ABAC Curator Polly Huff said a letter to ABAC students from ABAC President Clyde Driggers in 1969 prompted the exhibit.
“My two student interns and I found a letter from President Driggers when we were cataloging the ABAC archives last year,” Huff said. “In the letter, he said that ABAC wanted to celebrate the milestone by giving the student body and staff an unexpected day off on the Monday after the landing to celebrate and absorb the enormity of what was accomplished on the Apollo 11 mission.”
Throughout the world, everyone was glued to mostly black-and-white television sets on that Sunday, July 20, 1969 as American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins traveled to the moon.
The lunar module, “Eagle,” landed on the moon’s surface at 4:18 p.m. At 10:56 p.m., Armstrong set foot on the moon, proclaiming to the world, “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Titled “One Small Step,” the exhibit characterizes what it was like at ABAC and in Tifton on that day. The famous John Wayne saga, “True Grit,” had just appeared on movie screens, gasoline was 32 cents per gallon, the Beatles had recently released the “White Album,” and Richard Nixon was president.
“What was life in a typical home in South Georgia like on that day?” Huff asked. “Our goal with the exhibit is to center it around the event on the moon but ground it with historic artifacts that show home life as it was on that day.”
Huff said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working with museums across the country to help them commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with special events, exhibits, activities, and broadcasts.
“Local crowd-sourcing from individual collectors provided many of the home life artifacts for this exhibit,” Huff said. “We have also utilized a 3D printer to create a scale model of the moon for one of the displays.”
Two ABAC students, Jason Gentry from Tifton and Brittany Bass from Arcadia, Fla., are interning with Huff this summer and helped her to assemble the exhibit. Both are seeking bachelor’s degrees in history and government at ABAC.
Huff said the “One Small Step” exhibit is listed on NASA’s Museum Alliance Map and Calendar of Events honoring the anniversary of Moon Landing Day. The collection of photographs, video and audio files, and journal entries from the Moon Landing will be shown at the gallery on July 20 as a part of the exhibit.
The exhibit is included in the museum’s daily admission. It will remain on display in the Gallery through July 31.
The Museum, Gallery, Historic Village and Vulcan Steam Train will be in operation each Saturday in July from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior adults, $5 for children five to 16 years old, and free to children four and under. ABAC students receive free admission with a student ID.
The Historic Village, Art Gallery, and Museum will be open Tuesday-Friday in July from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Weekday admission is $7 for adults, $6 for senior adults, $4 for children five to 16 years old, and free to children four and under.